“With the next edition of ICC Cricket World Cup just a year away, England will be happy about its players delivering on crucial stages in a match. England made the first two ODIs look like a one-sided affair and in the third match when it struggled for a while, one of its senior batsmen and a fine one, Buttler stood up”.
49. 1 – Jos Buttler, on 97, challenges an LBW decision. The replays show a thick bottom edge and Butler survives.
49.2 – Butler takes a single. He remains on 98.
49.3 – Chris Woakes flicks through mid-wicket for a four. The Barmy Amry roars as the runs increase but they also have Butler’s century at the back of their mind. An utterly confused situation. Maybe, for Woakes as well.
49.4 – Woakes smashes it hard over deep backward square leg for a six. The two batsmen are clear, team’s total comes first and then personal milestone.
49.5 – The Barmy Army comes to their feet as Woakes takes a single and gives Buttler to reach the 100-run mark on the final delivery. Too much drama in Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG)
49.6 – Buttler squeezes the low full toss from SCG’s local guy, Mitchell Starc, and brings up his fifth ODI hundred.
Australia’s arguably the best current bowler not only failed to deny Butler a century but also leaked 13 runs off the final over. The same bowler who nipped off the tail in the recently concluded Ashes proved to be as expensive as 63 runs in 10 overs with no wicket to his name. Until 40 overs, a score of 250 also looked dicey but eventually, the duo of Woakes and Buttler grabbed 102 runs off the last 10 overs to take the side’s total to respective 302 on a slow Sydney track. Since they were 2-0 up in the five-match series, it was the Australians who were under pressure to win in order to keep the series alive.
All I’ll tweet cos it needs no more – The name, @josbuttler!
— Kevin Pietersen? (@KP24) January 21, 2018
After an exhausting Ashes for the bowlers, Cricket Australia had decided to rest the pacing trio of Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Starc at some point of time in the ODI series. But, in the must-win ODI, all the three had played and hence Australia’s poor bowling towards the end was even more shocking.
“Yeah, disappointing tonight, I thought the way we bowled in the first 45 overs was good, but Jos played exceptionally well, Woakesy too, but we bowled poorly at the end, can’t do that to a guy like Jos,” losing skipper Steven Smith said. Although Buttler’s 83-ball 100 was the slowest of his five ODI centuries but it was one of his best in his career so far. It ended in the winning cause only made it special for him and England.
Since Australia lost by 16 runs, the final over bowled by Starc that went for 13 runs certainly came to bite the hosts later in the match. Either that or the 13 wides which the Australian bowlers bowled, giving away two extra overs to England was another reason that hurt Australia in the final result.
A 0-4 loss in the Ashes Down Under was humiliating and confidence breaking but the way the limited-overs squad has turned tables around, England certainly has proved to be a force to beat. Even in the ICC Champions Trophy at home, they were unbeaten until the semi-final. An off day at work saw them get eliminated from the tournament in which they were the favourites since the start. Now, by handing Australia their first ODI series loss at home since 2010, England have announced that they are easily the strongest limited-overs side at present.
England were at miserable 189 for 6 when Buttler and Woakes began their eventual unbeaten 113-run stand for the seventh wicket. In the beginning, even these two took time to settle down. The damage was done towards the end when they went blazing against a full-fledged Australian attack. In the penultimate over, Buttler smashed Pat Cummins for two back-to-back sixes following up with a boundary before Woakes flicked one through mid-wicket on the final ball of the over. His innings was so smooth and clear that even a Starc yorker yielded four runs for them.
@josbuttler a rare finisher in world cricket.Amazing skill.The ability to manipulate and hit powerfully. Awesome to watch #ENGvsAUS
— Grant Elliott (@grantelliottnz) January 21, 2018
With the next edition of ICC Cricket World Cup just a year away, England will be happy about its players delivering on crucial stages in a match. England made the first two ODIs look like a one-sided affair and in the third match when it struggled for a while, one of its senior batsmen and a fine one, Buttler stood up. A champion team is all about how they deal with crisis and Buttler, who had not scored an ODI ton in nearly two years, proved that England had players who could make the side the most successful one in the 50-over format.
After Test skipper Joe Root, it is Buttler who averages the best in the ODIs in the English side with 38.42 in 102 games and is 349 runs away from 3,000 ODI runs. After a century in the Sydney match, Buttler now has centuries in three other countries (Australia, South Africa and UAE) apart from two at home. He has played 10 or more ODIs only in two countries – in England (47) and Australia (16) and he averages 40-plus in both the places which is a great sign considering most of the English batsmen tend to struggle or succumb to the pressure Down Under.
After two successful seasons in 2015 and 2016 where Buttler had ended the respective seasons with a 40-plus average, the keeper-batsman’s graph had miserably dropped last year. In 2017, Buttler had managed only 288 runs from 17 matches at a poor average of 28.80. However, with three games in 2018, Buttler already has 146 runs at an average of 73 and that is inclusive of a brilliant match-winning century. Following this series, England and Australia will lock horns with in-form New Zealand for a tri-series which will include both ODIs and T20Is. In order to remain on the winning ways, England will surely want Buttler to carry this momentum forward and be among the runs regularly.